|Education ministry audits teachers’ incentives|
|Thursday, 12 December 2013 13:17|
Samuel Kadungure Senior ReporterTHE Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Cde Lazarus Dokora, has ordered a comprehensive audit into incentive packages paid to teachers in urban and boarding schools for the past five years. The ongoing audit has already opened a Pandora’s Box amid revelations that some schools were cashing out up to 30 percent of levies, against a directive of 10 percent of total collected levies.
The audit outcome will determine whether or not to scrap them.
Manicaland has 1 233 schools, but the probe was targeted at urban and boarding schools only.
Efforts to get a comment from Dr Dokora were fruitless.
“I cannot talk to you about that issue as I am still in the Politburo meeting,” said Cde Dokora, on Wednesday evening.
However, the acting Manicaland Provincial Education Director, Mr Andrew Chigumira, confirmed the exercise, but could not shed more light.
He referred questions to the provincial senior auditor, one Mr Mutanda, who was not available for a comment.
Mr Mutanda was said to be out of office supervising the process.
“When that instruction (to audit the schools) was issued, I was out of the office.
“I am not abreast of the progress or findings of the audit trail. The best person who can help you is our senior auditor Mr Mutanda,” said Mr Chigumira.
A check by The Manica Post at some schools in Mutare, Rusape and Chipinge revealed that the auditors had looked into their books.
The audit entered its third week and by Wednesday nearly half of the targeted schools had been visited.
Heads, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the audit trail backdates to 2009.
They said some were made to fill some summary sheets explaining how they arrived at some amounts they were forking out.
The auditors will recommend appropriate action against those found on the wrong side of the act.
“They visited my school looking into our incentive books for the period backdating to 2009. The process is intended to come up with an overall opinion informing Government to gauge the salary scale for teachers and the resultant decision on whether or not to scrap the incentives.
“However, any premature decision to scrap them without addressing the issue of teachers’ salaries will destabilise most schools,” said a school head from Makoni.
A high ranking official from the ministry, who is involved in the ongoing process, said the bulky of the schools in Manicaland were bleeding the school coffers.
“The idea is to establish whether these schools were sticking to the 10 percent as directed by Government. We need to know which schools are or not complying.
Those not complying must explain why.
“We will draw a list of those violating the directive so that we effectively monitor them should Government fail to come up with satisfactory salaries for teachers.
“Some schools in Manicaland were taking up to 30 percent, it’s unacceptable, levies are meant for the development of schools and incentives,” said the official.
The official said Government had frozen fees hikes after realising that levies were being abused through exorbitant incentives.
“Government will not approve any increments in school fees because parents are paying more money already, but the impact of such is being neutralised as a result of these incentives.
“If schools are to stick to 10 percent, they will be left with a sizable purse for use in their development,” said the official.